curried beet kale soup

Borscht, the traditional Ukrainian beet soup, gets a vegeterian makeover in this spicier and much lighter version that uses the pink root vegetable as its base. Hearty but healthy, this curried beet and kale soup recipe will warm you up on an early spring evening, with garlic bread or homemade naan acting as ideal dipping devices that will soak up the flavor. The curry flavor may even convert some of your beet-avoiding friends and family, as it balances out the earthy sweetness of this phytonutrient-rich root crop.

Kale, the calcium, iron and fiber-rich brassica that has turned into the health food of this decade, adds texture and nutrition to this soup, but can be substituted with other leafy greens if you can’t quite stomach it. The recipe offers the option of either sautéing or steaming the greens very lightly before topping off the soup, as they will continue to cook once placed on the hot soup. Sautéing the kale will result in added flavor, whereas steaming will offer a lighter option. We recommend using yogurt with live cultures to make sure you are getting are the beneficial bacteria you need to keep your immune system healthy at this time of year.   

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

3 medium organic beets
1 large or 2 medium organic potatoes
1 tablespoon organic safflower or sunflower seed oil
¼ cup organic onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 cups water
1 tablespoon organic lemon juice
2 teaspoons organic curry powder
2 teaspoons organic turmeric
2 teaspoons organic paprika
1 teaspoon organic lemon thyme
½ teaspoon cayenne powder
salt and pepper to taste

Make garnish with:
1 tablespoon organic safflower or sunflower seed oil
2 cups organic kale, finely chopped
2 tablespoons organic yogurt

Method

Wash the potatoes and beets, peel the beets (you can peel the potatoes if you wish) and chop both vegetables into large chunks. Place them in a steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, chop the garlic and onions and heat the safflower or sunflower seed oil in a medium size pan. Sauté the garlic and onions until slightly browned. Place the beets, potatoes, onions and garlic in a blender or food processor, add the water and lemon juice, and blend to a smooth consistency. Transfer the blended vegetables into a medium size pot and stir in spices. Let simmer for 30 minutes to two hours.

Five minutes before taking the soup off the stove, chop the kale and sauté it lightly with olive oil. Alternatively, steam the kale for 1 minute. Ladle the soup into bowls, top generously with kale and add a dollop of yogurt as a garnish. Serve with homemade garlic bread or own its own.

Image: David Christian